The Return on Cats (ROC): Can Silly Memes and Pics Drive Traffic to Your Site?

The Return on Cats (ROC): Can Silly Memes and Pics Drive Traffic to Your Site?

Context: At the Social Media Breakfast last month, I was moderating a panel about measuring social media as a driver of business goals. As we began discussing various social networks, LinkedIn came up, and I offered the memorable quote, “It’s like Facebook without the Cats.” Thus began a mini-viral tweet meme about the ROI of cats or ROC. And I’m just the kinda nut who’s going to take something funny like that and try to put some numbers behind it. So here’s my attempt (sorta funny, sorta serious). Be sure and check out the full deck on for all the data. [Many thanks to the team of @smbaustin and the hashtag #smbaustin that always rocks the house with conversation, community and coffee & eggs.]


cat pictures what are they good for
click for full presentation and numbers

Before we jump in and try to track silly cat pictures and how they may or may not drive meaningful traffic, let’s get a few concepts defined.

Social Media: Content (media) that is generated with the intention of being shared with others via social networks
Social Activity: Any “engagement” with your social content (likes, tweets, comments, shares)
Share of Voice: what marketers like to measure when reporting on “activity” and how many times your brand or product is mentioned within a reporting period
Social Business: a new word combination we are using to try and put parameters about the financial value around social media programs
Social Influencer: a customer advocate on the web (primarily referring to unpaid influencers) who talks about your company on the web and then influences their friends and followers to take some action relative to that “passion” of their
Social Media ROI: the delicate art of mapping clicks and mentions to dollars or dollars saved or potential future dollars
Social Media Strategist: a name I used to call myself, but it’s actually too limiting (Death of the Social Media Strategist)

Okay, so now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to CATS.

Here’s the first insight.

the analytics behind cute cat pics
click to view this presentation on

I recently scoffed at a friend’s business session titled Instagram for Entrepreneurs. My question was, “For what?”

Know your goals, and then evaluate if CATS fit those goals.

  1. Drive traffic to the site (FAIL)
  2. Build UBER.LA brand (unknown – what’s my brand?)
  3. Being silly on social media (WIN)

More research could be in order, to put each new CAT on it’s own landing page to assess if Lilbub is a better driver than Grumpy Cat. But…

grumpy says no


This research study is available on The ROI of Cats in Social Media Marketing

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)


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